Press release

American Kidney Fund Applauds CMS Decision to Preserve Full Access to Immunosuppressive Drugs for Transplant Recipients

Immunosuppressants are one of Medicare's 'six protected classes' of drugs for complex medical conditions

ROCKVILLE, Md. (May 17, 2019) — The American Kidney Fund (AKF) today commends the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for its decision to preserve access for Medicare Part D beneficiaries to its six protected classes of drugs that are essential for treating serious health conditions, including organ transplants. The CMS policy has long stood as a guarantee to patients that their access to all available medications for the most serious diseases would never be in doubt.

Proposed changes to the six protected classes policy were particularly concerning for people with kidney transplants who get their immunosuppressive drugs through a Medicare Part D plan. Doctors and transplant patients work together to find the right drug regimen that lessens side effects and manages the risk of organ rejection. It is a delicate balance, and for transplant patients who may also have comorbidities, finding the right balance can be even more challenging. Getting it wrong could result in losing the transplanted kidney. The CMS decision ensures that transplant patients have access to the full range of immunosuppressive drugs, so they can find the drug regimen that works for them.

"On behalf of more than 200,000 Americans living with kidney transplants and the 97,000 who are on the kidney transplant waiting list, we commend CMS for recognizing that people living with complex medical conditions need access to the full range of drugs available to treat them, without restrictions," Burton said. 

About the American Kidney Fund

The American Kidney Fund (AKF) fights kidney disease on all fronts as the nation’s leading kidney nonprofit. AKF works on behalf of the 37 million Americans living with kidney disease, and the millions more at risk, with an unmatched scope of programs that support people wherever they are in their fight against kidney disease—from prevention through transplant. With programs that address early detection, disease management, financial assistance, clinical research, innovation and advocacy, no kidney organization impacts more lives than AKF. One of the nation’s top-rated nonprofits, AKF invests 97 cents of every donated dollar in programs, earning the highest 4-Star rating from Charity Navigator for 20 years in a row as well as the Platinum Seal of Transparency from Candid, formerly GuideStar.

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